Harry Flynn is not from Centralia, but he says he is glad he moved here.
The calm before Tuesday afternoon’s April 28 storm found him tending to some of his plants in front of his brick duplex, at the intersection of Jefferson and Early Streets, with some help from his tenant, Sue Barnes. “The Fentons had it built and when Mrs. Fenton passed, they sold a lot of properties and I ended up with this one.”
As they tended to Flynn’s flower pots, the pair was watched over by Flynn’s dogs, Harvey, a caramel Labrador-Heeler mix and Henni, a Border Collie-Heeler mix.
Flynn and Barnes were tending to, among other plants, circling the tall oak tree in the front yard, a potted Blue Ice Bog Rosemary and a Corbell, both surrounded with peonies.
Flynn, now in his 70s, loves life.
Retired, he has spent large chunks of his live as a military school quartermaster and as a Real Estate Agent.
A large portion of that, Flynn said, was with the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, a 50- to 60-hours a week job that involved all aspects of student life from purchasing toilet paper to hiring tailors for the 300-plus uniforms he purchased every year for the academy’s students.
“It was a wonderful job,” Flynn said of his decade as MMA’s quartermaster. “I got to work with great people from all over the world.”
Then he sold real estate in Columbia, later moving to Centralia in 2006.
“This is a wonderful town,” Flynn said. “Wherever you got, everybody wants to be helpful, and we’ve got the best of everything here.”
When asked how he is dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic concern, Flynn turns frank. “I try and be outside as much as possible. I take my dogs for a lot of walks.”
“I looked up to Lowell Hagen,” Flynn said when asked if there was anybody in his professional life who he admired. “By example and by suggestion, he kind of molded me into the man I am today. He taught me to be organized, how to be a good salesman and how to take care of people.”
In all his years, Flynn said, he had only once seen anything remotely like what society is experiencing with COVID-19.
“It was the bird flu when I was quartermaster at MMA,” Flynn said. “The student hospital was full and we quarantined the floors of sick people in one dorm and quarantined a whole other one… This is terrible, I think we might be opening up too soon, but I understand, lots of people want to get back to work.”
Looking back, Flynn said the most important lesson he has learned in this life is: “Try to live every day to the fullest and try to treat everybody the way you want to be treated.”